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Preliminary evidences suggest that the establishment of a bottlenose dolphin protection area in southern Brazil is failing against the reduction of bycatch

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Pedro F Fruet, Jonatas H Prado, Rodrigo C Genoves, Juliana C Di Tullio, Eduardo R Secchi

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International Whaling Commission


In response to the increasing rates of entanglement of bottlenose dolphins in gillnets and the large overlap in dolphin distribution and the gillnet fishery around the Patos Lagoon Estuary, the Brazilian Government established in August 2012 a fishing exclusion area aiming at reduce incidental catches of bottlenose dolphins in this area. The aim of this work was to conduct a preliminary evaluation on the effectiveness of the bottlenose dolphin protection area. This preliminary analysis was based on the temporal analysis of the stranding rates along the coastal beaches in areas close to the Patos Lagoon Estuary and the compilation of bycatch records of bottlenose dolphin in other types of legal fisheries operating within or near the boundaries of the protected area. Contrary to expectations we found an overall increasing trend in mortality of bottlenose dolphins after the implementation of the protected area and a similar pattern of life-stage and seasonality in mortality in relation to the period before the establishment of the norm. In addition, we also reported on three additional types of fisheries that are allowed and commonly practiced within the boundaries of the protected area that incidentally captured bottlenose dolphins in southern Brazil. The data presented here strongly suggests that by-catch still affecting bottlenose dolphins in the region

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